May 03, 2022

6 Signs Your Dog or Cat Is in Pain

Whether it be from an injury, a disease, or advanced age, our pets experience pain just like we do. However, if they do not have an obvious wound or if they are not limping, it can be hard to know if your dog or cat is in distress. 

Knowing the signs of discomfort is especially important as our pets age and become at risk for ailments such as arthritis, cancer, or dementia. Even though your dog or cat can't verbally say, "I'm in pain," there are some signs to take note of.  

How to tell your pet might be in pain

Being more vocal than normal 

Our pets can vocalize their discomfort in various ways such as excessive barking, meowing, whimpering, growling, grunting, whining, or howling.

It can be challenging to know which specific body area is in pain, but many animals will cry out or react when a particular part is touched. 

Be aware of these vocal cues, as dogs and cats tend to be more vocal when experiencing pain. 

Behavioral changes

Since our pets can't use words to tell us that they are uncomfortable, they may act out. They might stop running to meet you at the door, avoid contact, or become aggressive. If your pet no longer wants their daily belly rubs, becomes unusually antisocial, or hides away, it could signify that they're in pain. 

Trembling or shaking 

Cats and dogs can shake when they are cold or nervous/anxious. However, trembling can also be a sign of pain or a symptom of a severe issue, such as:

Changes in habits

Many pets usually develop a pretty routine schedule. So if you notice they are eating or drinking less or sleeping more, they might be in pain from an underlying illness or injury. Regardless, schedule a time to see your vet as soon as possible. 

Excessive licking

It's common for dogs or cats to lick themselves as part of routine grooming. However, if you find your pet licking, chewing, or scratching themselves excessively, it could signal a more serious issue, like:

  • allergies

  • dry skin

  • hormonal imbalance

  • pain 

  • GI problems 

  • parasites

  • cut or wound

Heavy panting/altered breathing 

Animals, especially dogs, pant to regulate their body temperatures and prevent overheating. However, if your pet is heavily panting even though they have not been exercising or outside in the heat, this can be a warning sign they are distressed. 

Changes in your pet's breathing, such as it becoming faster and more shallow, may mean they are experiencing pain when they try to breathe or signify a problem in the lungs, heart, throat, etc.

Final thoughts

If your pet is showing any signs of being in pain, you should seek care right away. There are many options to treat animals' various causes of discomfort, including pain medications, physical rehabilitation and acupuncture. Always consult your vet before starting any treatment with your pet. 

Our pets will probably need medication at some point in their life. Luckily, you don't have to go into debt paying for their prescriptions. By doing a little bit of research, cost comparison inquiries, and using CareCard, you can save money on pet medications

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